UAL: Refined Sales Approach Drives Corporate Revenue
United Airlines touted its growth in the corporate market during an investor presentation this week, claiming that corporate contracted business now comprises nearly 20 percent of its passenger revenue.
United senior vice president of worldwide sales Jeff Foland said the carrier is moving beyond "a relationship-based selling environment and an environment where you simply sell based on price." The sales approach has grown to become "process-driven, process-oriented [and] analytically rigorous," he said.
Foland said United adopted a more analytical approach to corporate sales in the United States beginning in 2005, and since has begun to roll it out to other regions.
Among the tools driving the "analytically rigorous" sales process, United has developed proprietary technology that measures corporate clients on 160 "dimensions," Foland said. "We now have tools which allow reps to go in as part of this process, profile the account and understand what segment the account would fall into and do some very deep quantitative analysis that says our network fit relative to your next best alternative—where your people travel, class of travel, etc., here's how many productivity hours you would save on our program versus someone else—and you can monetize that into real-dollar terms," Foland said.
Foland claimed United has added more than $400 million in new corporate business in the past 24 months, helping to grow the corporate share of United's revenue. "Nearly 20 percent of passenger revenue is under a direct corporate share contract," he said, "and the reason we care about this is that the yield on that traffic is quite attractive. The yield is nearly double that which you would have outside of this particular portfolio."